Construction on a new Columbus restaurant called Metro Diner is moving forward at The Landings shopping center near the intersection of Whitesville Road and Airport Thruway.
A city building permit dated Oct. 2 shows $500,000 of work being done at the 4,705-square-foot restaurant site, which is the former home of the Fuddrucker’s hamburger eatery that closed its doors nearly a year ago. The location is adjacent to Boo’s Package Store. The general contractor is Mobile, Ala.-based Rogers & Willard Inc.
Garrett Richardson, with Metro Diner’s marketing department, said the current estimated opening date is Jan. 16, although that is subject to change.
Metro Diner is a celebrity of sorts, having been featured on “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives,” a popular Food Network road show hosted by bleach-blonde host Guy Fieri.
Founded 25 years ago in Jacksonville, Fla., but now based in Tampa, Metro Diner serves up a menu that marketing director Crafton Bryant calls “comfort food with flair.” Dinner and lunch menu entrees include a meatloaf plate, chicken pot pie, metro pot roast, fried chicken and waffle, Charleston shrimp and grits, and fish and chips plate. There are nearly two dozen types of burgers and sandwiches, salads, soups and sides, as well as a menu for kids.
The breakfast menu also has fried chicken and waffle on it, along with breakfast pie, biscuits and sausage gravy, steak and eggs, huevos rancheros, omelettes, various types of Eggs Benedict, griddle waffles, breakfast sandwiches and a category called “eggs galore.”
“We serve breakfast, lunch and dinner all day, everyday,” Bryant said in an earlier interview. “We’ve got these dishes that kind of bring you back to your childhood, the meatloaf, the pot pie, that are these really classic comfort food dishes. But then we have fried chicken and waffles. There’s fresh meat and strawberry butter. We serve the fried chicken with sweet and spicy syrup. So it’s a very hearty portions, delicious food, all made from scratch.”
Metro Diner dates to 1992, when it became a breakfast hub for residents in the Jacksonville, Fla., area. Chef Mark Davoli and his family, including father John Sr. and brother John Jr., acquired Metro Diner in 2000 and shook up the menu a bit. It became an even bigger hit after Fieri’s visit in 2010, with tourists flocking to the eatery and sales soaring.
Since then, Metro Diner has been growing steadily and adding new locations. It opened a location in Macon, Ga., in late July and another in Birmingham, Ala., in late August. The company now has more than 40 active and future restaurant locations.